There are a lot of things to consider before you start exporting to Kuwait.
It's essential to find out about local rules and regulations on tax and duty in your intended market.
You can carry out business in Kuwait in any of the following forms:
- Commercial Agent, under the sponsor ship of a registered Kuwaiti agent
- Commercial Representative, under the sponsorship of a commercial representative
- a joint venture
- establishing a Kuwaiti company
The Companies Law allows a range of company structures. You can find more details of business structure on the Kuwait Government Online website.
Foreign ownership in the State of Kuwait is restricted to a maximum of 49 per cent. However, to encourage FDI the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) was setup and a new law passed. This Foreign Direct Investment Law allows 100 per cent ownership in some designated economic activities and projects.
Standards and technical regulations
No one ministry has responsibility for standards and technical regulations.
All goods imported into Kuwait must be clearly marked with the country of origin.
Some imports have additional labelling requirements. Foodstuffs, for example, must include composition (ingredients and additives), production and expiration dates as well as other indicators.
Trademarks, designs, patents and copyright are the principal forms of IP protection available to companies and individuals.
Kuwait is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and a signatory to the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
Patent must be registered with the Patents Office at the Trademark Control Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Industrial designs must be registered in the Industrial Designs and Models Register. An application for registration must then be submitted to the Trademark Control Department. The registration is valid for 5 years and can renewed for 2 additional consecutive terms.
Kuwaiti Commercial Code, Law No. 68/1980 governs trademark registration and the penalties for infringement. You can apply to register your trademark at the Trademark Control Department. When approved protection is granted for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10.
Article (17) of Law No. 64/1999 defines period of copyright protection.
Read more about protecting your intellectual property overseas.
Tax and customs considerations
There is a double taxation agreement between the UK and Kuwait.
The Kuwait tax Authority (KTA) has responsibility for taxation in Kuwait.
There is currently no Value Added Tax (VAT) or sales tax in Kuwait.
Income Tax Law No.2 of 2008 sets tax liability at a 15 per cent flat rate on net taxable income.
Zakat (poor relief) at 1 per cent of annual net profits is levied on Kuwait public and closed Joint Stock Companies, and similar GCC entities with operations in Kuwait.
There is no personal income tax in Kuwait.
The Kuwaiti General Administration of Customs has responsibility for Kuwaiti customs procedures.
The import of alcohol and pork products into Kuwait is prohibited. Certain meats from the UK are also banned. Kuwaiti Customs provides full details of restricted items.
The documents required to export to Kuwait are:
- invoices – initiated by supplier
- certificate of origin
- bills of lading / airway bill
- packing list
- import licence and quality test certificates as applicable
- Original Islamic Compliant Slaughter (Halal) meat products
- customs duty payment receipt
The accompanying documents must be legalised by the Kuwaiti Embassy and also certified by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs upon arrival of the shipment.
A licensed customs clearing agent is required in order to facilitate the customs clearance process and for practical considerations.
You need a visa to enter Kuwait. You can get a free 30 day tourist visa on arrival at the airport, or a 90 day business visa for a fee. Your local hotel can also help arrange a visa.